Written by: Kelley Kali, Roma Kong, Angelique Molina
Starring: Kelley Kali, Wesley Moss, Deon Cole, BK Marie, Ira Scipio
Providing for one’s child remains one of if not the most important priority in any parent’s life. At times it puts a parent in the place where they feel they need to care for their child before themselves. Not being in the position to provide, therefore, can be incredibly frustrating, which ultimately becomes the case in I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking) as we follow a mother constantly in a state of desperation and the lengths necessary for basic survival.
Widowed mother of an 8-year-old, Danny (Kelley Kali) only has a tent on the side of the road as shelter for her and her daughter. As she tries to get enough money to secure a deposit for an apartment, she needs to skate around with all of these gig money-earning opportunities with the clock ticking.
The sense of desperation found in Danny’s situation will definitely hit parents hard because parenting a kid when they have all of the support in the world may be difficult, but trying to do the same with barely any resources makes it far more challenging. Trying to preserve a young girl’s innocence while also preparing her for the rigors of the outside world becomes such a juggling act for Danny. As we follow her through this exhaustive journey, it then gets passed onto us, with this film’s defining feature coming from the level of empathy it can build.
Making money in the gig economy initially came into this country promising the opportunity for individuals to make their own schedules, but as reality has shown, as does this feature, this false promise does not deliver. Sure, you can make your own schedule and have a sense of freedom, but the conditions and availability of work provide piss poor pay but essentially becomes the only way Danny can amass any sort of money. Watching this film truly shows the limitations of these jobs, how it does not help the workers taking time out of their day to do it, but also appreciate things you take for granted.
With Danny in search of shelter, it serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining one’s four walls. Unfortunately, her story is not a unique one. Having to find ways and battle just to get a roof under one’s head has been a battle for many homeless folks and now Danny has the stress of doing the same for her daughter. This sense of desperation for Danny throughout the feature comes from a battle many Americans face, especially when getting to cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco where the cost of living continues to price out individuals who do not have a sustainable wage. The fact Danny has the ability to secure this apartment but sits just short of the total needed to completely reserve the space says plenty. Everything rides on getting this money to the landlord as it becomes clear another opportunity will not appear in the same way.
It truly becomes the small things that make this special small film so endearing and empathetic, even from the fact Danny needs to utilize skates to get around. With no stable shelter, no vehicle, no sustainable income, and no consistent child care, this woman has so many obstacles to simply make money in the gig economy, which only gets worse considering how rude some of her patrons prove to be. An unfortunate reality but one this film successfully communicates through this eternal struggle.
With a strong story to tell, the film does feel a bit rough in its filmmaking aspects. Definitely one of the films made during the pandemic, it certainly gives off the vibe. It means most of the scenes took place outside, which makes sense and even shows the characters in masks. Not the most proficient direction and acting on display, but the heart of the feature lies in the story and the passion shown by those involved in creating this narrative certainly displays this burning care they have for this character and her unfortunately common plight she shares with others.
Intention and delivery brings so much love to the point of exhaustion gets passed on from Danny to the audience, I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking) pretty much sums up the overall feeling right in the title. With no time to rest or even catch her breath, Danny’s journey displays a wonderful level of affection she has for her daughter. Whether or not they get the apartment will not guarantee they can keep it in the long-term considering the lack of consistent income, but just for one moment, to be under some shelter would mean the world, and this care shines through in this lovely film.